Modern psychophysics and the assessment of human oral sensation

Adv Otorhinolaryngol. 2006;63:221-241. doi: 10.1159/000093762.


Psychophysical measures attempt to capture and compare subjective experiences objectively. In the chemical senses, these techniques have been instrumental in describing relationships between oral sensation and health risk, but they are often used incorrectly to make group comparisons. This chapter reviews contemporary methods of oral sensory assessment, with particular emphasis on suprathreshold scaling. We believe that these scales presently offer the most realistic picture of oral sensory function, but only when they are used correctly. Using converging methods from psychophysics, anatomy, and genetics, we demonstrate valid uses of modern chemosensory testing in clinical diagnosis and intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mouth / physiology*
  • Psychophysics / methods*
  • Sensation / physiology*
  • Space Perception / physiology
  • Taste / physiology
  • Tongue / physiology